I thought I would share with you part of the process that goes into coming up with a great wheel design at Hot Rods by Boyd. I’d like to tell you that these things just pop in my head overnight and we hit some buttons on a machine the next day and BAM a wheel pops out a few minutes later. The truth of it is some of these designs are works in progress overs weeks, months, and sometimes years. With having only 17 to 20″ of space(sometimes bigger) to work with and the constraints of bolt patterns and offsets it’s hard at times to keep coming up with new wheels. A lot of what the wheel industry comes up with are remakes of older designs. Which is fine because in the custom car world we live in a 5 spoke world or some variation of it. What separates the good from the bad is how well the designs are executed.
I come up with most of the designs myself but on some of the designs I like to work with professional designers. One of my favorite designers to work with is Eric Brockmeyer. Eric worked with my father for many years and when the idea for the Columbus wheel started in my head I knew Eric had to be involved. During our phone conversation and my describing what I wanted, Eric mentioned that he thought he had something we had previously worked on together. A few minutes later Eric sent over an email from 8 years prior and some renderings of a motorcycle wheel he was working on with my dad and I. Eric tweaked it a little bit more to get it where I thought it needed to be. Once Eric and I are happy with the design we then take it to one of our progammers to take the drawing and turn it into a functional 3D model. Working with designers that have some background in manufacturing is a plus. Nothing wastes time more than drawing out something that really can’t be machined or must be changed so much to be machined that it ends up being a totally different design. While Eric has probably never set up and ran a machine he has a great mind and an eye for what can and cannot be machined. So after a little back and forth with our programmer we give the machine shop the green light to cut to the first piece. Technology these days allows for you to see what you are going to get before you cut and to eliminate any guess work or surprises.
Learning a lesson from my dad I like to work with some of the best talent out there. Besides Eric Brockmeyer we work with some of the best programmers, machinists, and finishers in the business. Having a solid team with experience helps take our wheel designs to another level. In the end we were all happy with the way the Columbus wheel came out. Our Salt Flat/Halibrand style influenced wheel exceeded our expectations with the range of fitments and finishing options we have come up for it. Below are some pictures of the entire process from Eric’s sketches to the initial 3D renderings to the final product.